Since my discovery of wine has begun, all the while my wife was enjoying one of her favorite wines, Cupcake Vineyards’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. At this point I was starting to pay attention to wine more, trying to absorb everything I could about who makes them, how, and where. So every bottle, whether a Grand Cru Gevrey-Chambertain (I enjoyed one of those last weekend), or a Gato Negro, was a potential learning experience.
I have tried several of the varietals from Cupcake Vineyards and so far have been impressed with the quality. They started and are based in the Central Coast, California region with Bordeaux varietals and then expanded to several international styles as well as expanding at home. All these wines are made from collaboration with their head winemaker in the classic regions for that varietal. For example, he travels and works directly with winemakers in Marlborough, Mendoza, Barossa, etc. The Sauvignon Blanc was the first I tried, and we’ve had a lot since. I often joke that we are solely keeping them in business. But it’s good quality, at a good price, so why wouldn’t they be popular? It is a typical, but above average refreshingly crisp NZ Sauvignon with all the expected stone fruit and citrus and grassy and ‘cat’s pee’ aromas. On the palate it is refreshing and light and citrusy. A fine example of New Zealand signature Sauvignon Blanc, right down to the screw cap.
On another occasion I had the Malbec, from Mendoza. I enjoyed classic chocolate and leather notes as well as a bit of spice. This time I am trying my favorite, Pinot Noir. Speaking of Central Coast, this one is made right there at home. Cooled by the Pacific and fog, this is a great region for a grape like Pinot Noir. It insures a long hang time to get maximum ripeness. It is a 2010, which is good – 2011 wasn’t a very good year for California. According to their website the grapes are cold-soaked and then fermented at a cooler temperature to preserve the bright berry fruit. I am definitely getting that fruit and oak, nine months to be precise, and cherry, spice and smoke aromas. The color has a nice medium intensity and it shows concentrated fruit on the palate as well. The finish is just long enough, and overall this is a delicious little Pinot Noir. I look forward to finishing the bottle with some BBQ chicken I am grilling up tonight. Another classic example. I seem to be using the word classic a lot, which tells you that they convincingly make many styles of international wines, at a cost accessible to everyone. I love that they have downloadable tasting notes for each wine. That is a nice touch for the enthusiast, like me.
I see that they now make vodka, so I will give that a try based on my experience to date with their wines. They also continue to make wine at home in California, including two custom blended wines called “Angel Food” and “Red Velvet,” also on the must-try list.